Phil White melts wax onto a ski Wednesday at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center in Steamboat Springs. The center will play host Sunday to the 27th annual Steamboat Stampede, a collection of races ranging from 3 to 42 kilometers. The event, which won't close the trails to the public, is expected to draw 125 athletes.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Phil White melts wax onto a ski Wednesday at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center in Steamboat Springs. The center will play host Sunday to the 27th annual Steamboat Stampede, a collection of races ranging from 3 to 42 kilometers. The event, which won't close the trails to the public, is expected to draw 125 athletes.

Steamboat Stampede could be tough test in light-snow season

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— The snow, or lack thereof, certainly could be a factor, Steamboat Ski Touring Center Director Birgitta Lindgren said, considering the implications for Sunday’s massive cross-country ski race, the 27th annual Steamboat Stampede.

The course should be fine, she insisted, pointing out that all but one short section of the Touring Center’s trails are open thanks to plenty of hours of work by her staff. The event will include 42- and 23-kilometer races for the hard-core, as well as 10-, 5- and 3-kilometer races for others. The longer courses will make long laps on the 12 available snow-covered kilometers.

There’s no telling how the athletes, on the other hand, have adapted to the weather. Another large field of 125 is expected, but no one is quite sure what to expect of those skiers.

“We get locals, people from all over the state and quite a few from Utah. It’s an annual event that’s made a name for itself,” Lindgren said. “It may be more of a challenge this year because people haven’t done a lot of skiing.”

Registration remains open for the event, which begins at 9:25 a.m. Sunday with the men’s and women’s classic divisions for the longest races take off. The skate racers for those two longer events will begin at 9:45 and 10 a.m., respectively. The shorter races, the second leg in the chase for the Sven Wiik Cup, start from 10:02 to 10:04 a.m.

Race-day registration will be available. Registration can be faxed to 970-871-1278, called in to 970-879-8180 or taken care of online at www.nordicski.net. The longer two races cost $40 through noon Saturday and will be $55 on Sunday. The shorter events are $25 for adults in advance and $35 on race day.

“We don’t know what to expect,” Lindgren said. “There are lot of people who haven’t skied much, but we’re looking forward to it.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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